It is too bad that some would rather just have so called professionals due the
indexing instead of a group of volunteers who take time to try and get it right.
You know it would take years or even longer if it was left up to only those who
are paid to get it done.After all we don't want 10-12 year olds
doing something someone could be paid to do it. After all the records have to
be perfect even though many of the records are not perfect in themselves.
Others would prefer that everything is done at a snails pace which means it
would never get done and be provided for. For all the complaints that one
makes, millions upon millions are welcome to having the information provided.
Sure Red Corvette has some problems but how much of the work is he actually
doing. Probably nothing at all. One talks to maybe three or four Family
History Center advisors and it becomes most. I've done my study and the
amount can be more contributed to individuals who are not perfect.
Malachi's prophesy is being fulfilled as we speak.
It was a shame that the servers couldn't handle the load, we had 30+ people
trying to index and kept getting Server Not Available errors in the application.
I wonder how high the number could have gone had the infrastructure supported
them all. After about an hour of trying we finally had 3 people get batches.
Pt 2...Yes, there are two indexers and an arbitrator, but (no offense to the
awesome arbitrators who do a great job) many like being an arbitrator for the
'prestige' factor and are unqualified and untrained. There were so
many complaints about their mistakes FS started doing arbitrator training
sessions, but the problems persist. Add in the effort to pull kids in to get
them started in genealogy as it is not 'cool' or a popular thing and
you now have kids 10-12 who have no perspective of historical names first or
last, geographical places etc and you have even more problems. On top of it
when you go to check why you were marked incorrect and you can see and prove you
are correct they essentially just pat you on the head and say well there is no
way to fix it. At least Ancestry has a way to add a correction on when you see
an error so that it gets cross referenced.
I am not a member, but I have participated in FS indexing to the rate of almost
100,000 names with 98% accuracy. I am one of those nuts who will call and find
a specialist in old Canadian Indian tribal names and spend 3-4 hours having him
help me discern correct spellings by faxing images back and forth or tracking
down the original ship logs to see the handwriting for myself instead of relying
on the printed image provided etc. There is a hardcore group of old timers so
concerned with accuracy that we do stuff like that. However, there has been a
shift in recent years where the push is to get more people who don't
necessarily have the credentials or detail oriented natures to be concerned with
accuracy. Add to this FS coupling with Ancestry who go to India and other third
world countries unfamiliar with most of the names being indexed and the hard
core start seeing more and more errors being duplicated on FS and Ancestry.
Corvette is right the amount of errors is stunning. It is a problem and if you
speak with any indexing director or FHC director they will tell you of the many
Again, Red C. I would be interested how you have been able to identify a vast
amount of incorrect data being input? Were you an arbitrator at first level or
an arbitrator further up in the process? How were you able to gain access to
files that are not made public until the data has gone through a lengthy process
to ensure accuracy? Just curious.
Having indexed several thousand records and still feeling like a novice, I am
pleased with the checks and balances that are in place to help eliminate some of
the inaccuracies. That the records are being digitized is a wonderful thing.
I'm sure down in St. George all things are perfect but in the 'real
world' there is only One who was perfect in all things. So, the efforts of
us imperfect ones is better than no effort at all. The purpose of
indexing is to digitize a multi-billion record storehouse of printed and
microfilmed data so that people all over the world can begin to find their long
gone relatives records. The real impact to me personally has been the sense of
families - not just data - that is connecting together. BTW, Red
Corvette, standing by your comment doesn't make you right. It just makes
you inflexible. You may want to consider that real purpose of the efforts of
thousands of imperfect volunteers worldwide amassing these records. It may have
no interest to you except to find fault but to many of us, it is another
lifeline to our families long gone.
okay - about the misspelled names - the census taker for example spelled it the
way he heard it which means phonetically. Another thing - the census was taken
from whoever answered the door which meant that 11 year old Timmy could have
given his sister's embarressing nickname. So the misspellings
are not the fault of the indexer but rather it is due to the way that the census
taker heard it.
Red Corvette,How were you able to account for the stunning amount of
inaccuracies that you refer to with such an air of knowledge????
Actually, there is a process where there can be even more than arbitrator if
necessary. Therefore, there are all kinds of checks and balances built in. They
also have pages and pages of helps where you can go to get help with
"bad" handwriting examples or old handwriting and instructions on what
to do when more than one spelling is found, so this is no simple, ill-thought
out process thought about one morning and put online that evening. I would
imagine that those who volunteered had some interest in Family History and some
experience. Still, as evidenced by some of the pictures of those indexing during
this project even those with experience often do so in groups and help each
other when they are having a hard time or difficulty reading what is onscreen.
There is also the added line, that if you find yourself in over your head as I
did on one batch, you can return it, say it was too difficult, and ask for
another. There are other ways to keep the best results possible too numerous to
Red CorvetteWhat constitutes an inaccuracy? Many records have
inaccuracies. Enumerators constantly misspelled names, got information mixed up,
and so forth.We can only provide our best efforts as volunteers and
this system of two indexers and an arbitrator is a proven process that balances
effort with accuracy and production.Today search engines can allow
for input errors and group records with similar phonetic similarities. It's
up to the researcher to take into account these anomalies in records and to
check their sources.Since doing research in the B.C (before
computers) era and comparing that to now... we are light years beyond.I am very grateful for indexing. I remember very well the days of a rare
printed index being available and having to travel a 1000 miles to Salt Lake to
view them. Today I can do so much from the convenience of my home and do it in
my pajamas when I want to. A far cry from what I could do just a few short years
ago.The few inaccuracies found in indexed records is quite stunning.
Red Corvette, your assumption that “the amount of inaccuracies in the
indexed records is stunning” is wrong. The article states that once
indexed by two volunteers, an arbitrator checks them before the records are live
online. I remember that when I volunteered years ago every batch I indexed was
also indexed separately by another volunteer, with an arbitrator checking each
I'm not LDS but I have used these sites for my research. I had no idea that
many people were involved in this project. Many thanks!
Inaccuracies will happen. However, having two people do it separately, then any
discrepancies adjudicated by an arbitrator is a very sound approach.The real problems are the difficulty reading old script, the haphazard
spelling used by those making the original records (or the people they talked
to), and the sometimes poor quality of the images from which the indexers must
work.Instead of lamenting that fact that there is not 100% accuracy
for millions of records, we should be thankful, and grateful to the volunteers,
that there are in fact millions of records that may be 80% (or more?) accurate.
That is a far bigger help than having a warehouse full of paper documents that
no one has ever looked at in the last 50 years, and no one has any idea of what
might be there. You can spend weeks arguing over a single document.In my own research, I have found records with surnames spelled multiple ways
in the actual records, and most are faithfully transcribed by indexers. This
may be the fault of my semi-literate, foreign born and speaking ancestors, or
the work of a not much better qualified census taker with poor penmanship.
Red Corvette: Have you done any work in this field? It is not easy as names
can be hard to read and make out. However, at lest two indexers are given the
same page and then there is arbitration should there be any differences between
the two. No one know who ells is doing the same page you are doing. If you
have not tried to do the work give it a try and bay be you will not criticize
the work we do.
If you want to get good at something, you have to practice. Sure, people make
mistakes, that's why there are arbitrators. When I first started indexing,
my scores weren't as high as I wanted them to be, but I learned and got
better. I'm thrilled that so many people were willing to volunteer their
time to help with a worthy cause. Thank you to anyone who helped as it helps me
with my genealogy!
Red Corvette - Which part of the article made you think this was done in haste?
The article said a record number of people participated, which in turn resulted
in a record number of records being processed. My wife was one of those who
processed two batches of names and I can assure you that it was not done in
haste, but carefully and with love. Hats off to all those who participated in
this awesome event!